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Tasting notes from Croatia

© 2011 Tom Cannavan

These notes accompany our in-depth feature on Croatian Wines.

The Wine Gang Croatian selection

The Wine Gang selected these 45 wines, from a tasting of 250 Croatian wines, to be shown at the Croatian Wine trade tasting in London in September 2011. The tasting was blind and the short note for each wine is a composite note agreed by the Gang.

The range of Croatian wines available in the UK is limited, though there are a couple of specialist small companies, notably Pacta Connect (, who import directly into the UK and in the USA. See all Croatian wines avaialble in the UK listed on, and see all listed in other countries on


Boškinac, Gegič (Gegič) 2010
Interesting native variety found only on the island of Pag. Slightly sour attack, with a lemon-citrus freshness and an attractive saltiness. Good food wine. Distinctive.  13.2% ABV, 85/100

Marko Sladic, Maraština (Maraština) 2010
Smoky, mineral, dry crisp and tight. Lovely creamy texture on the palate. Long, fresh finish. Complex.  13.6% ABV, 90/100

Capo Vina, Chardonnay (Chardonnay) 2009
Well-made, classic Chardonnay, hinting at tropical fruit but pulling back towards citrusy freshness.  Comparable level to a village Burgundy.  13.5% ABV, 87/100

Legovic, Sauvignon (Sauvignon blanc) 2010
Pungent, assertive elderflower and passion fruit aromas. Good quality, refreshing, crisp, lively  Sauvignon Blanc.  12.2% ABV, 87/100

Zlatan Otok, Pošip (Pošip) 2010
Beautifully balanced, lovely fresh grapefruit, creamy, juicy red apple. Great sophisticated, superior seafood wine.  13.5% ABV, 90/100

Korta Katarina, Pošip (Pošip) 2009
Attractive orchard fruit nose, real tangy richness of rosy-red apples on the palate, with great tangy finish.  15.5% ABV, 89/100

Ivan Cobankovic, Pinot sivi (Pinot Gris) 2009
Barrel-fermented, evident butterscotch oak, but the fruit and acidity carries the creamy, rich texture. A Grauburgunder, rather than Pinot Gris, style.  13.4% ABV, 89/100

Bartolovic, Pinot sivi (Pinot Gris) 2008
Made in a traditional Pinot Grigio Romato style, super-ripe with salted caramel, crisp acidity. Distinctive sweetness/acidity tension.  15% ABV,  90/100

Cmrečnjak, Pinot sivi (Pinot Gris) 2009
More in the Pinot Gris style, with a lovely purity of refreshing, sherbet fruit. Refreshingly off-dry, very good quality. 12% ABV,  88/100

Bolfan vinarija, Rajnski rizling (Riesling) 2009
Authentic, vibrant citrus-floral Riesling, with a tangy lemon-and-green-apple acidity. Long, tangy finish. 13.8% ABV,  88/100

Korak, Rajnski rizling (Riesling) 2008
Slightly developed wax and nettle notes, punchy apple skin too. Really fresh finish, lots of weight and texture, and a bit of lemon pith, grapefruity zest.  14.2% ABV,  88-89/100

Tomac, Amphora Rajnski rizling (Riesling) 2009
Amphora-aged, floral-scented, pale gold. Utterly distinctive, textured, lovely fresh salty blast of acidity on the finish. Fascinating and characterful.  13% ABV,  91/100

DK Grofovo Cuvee (Pinot blanc, Chardonnay, Graševina, Furmint) 2009
Open green apple, leafy green herb, greengage – nicely balanced with a cushion of residual sugar.  12.9% ABV,  87/100

Boškinac blanc Grand Cru (Gegič, Chardonnay, Sauvignon) 2009
Traditional style, with a Chenin-like straw character, some minerality and acidity. Secondary rather than primary character. Intense.  14.7% ABV,  87/100

Kozlović, Malvazija (Malvazija Istriana) 2010
Spritzy, zesty, and spicy mineral, with a lovely explosion of apricot fruit. A lovely example of Malvazija.  12.9% ABV,  92/100

Benvenuti, Malvazija (Malvazija Istriana) 2010
Creamy, slightly smoky nose. Full-bodied, and with a lovely soft peach richness, then that mineral salty kick. Delicious.  13% ABV,  90/100

AB VINA, Malvazija (Malvazija Istriana) 2010
Broad, full, soft and approachable mango fruit, peach down. 13% ABV,  86/100

Kabola, Malvazija (Malvazija Istriana) 2010
Leesy, herbal, refreshing and tangy. This has a lovely salty, leesy character, great acidity. Perfect seafood wine. 13% ABV,  90/100

Saints Hills, Nevina (Malvazija Istriana, Chardonnay) 2009
Sour-dough apple and lemon character. Quite fat, but some complexity.  15.6% ABV,  87/100

Clai, Sv. Jakov (Malvazija istriana) 2009
Utterly beguiling and complex nose, long maceration, apricots, herbs, extract, rich, concentrated and bone-dry. Fascinating. 14.5% ABV, 93/100

Cossetto, Malvazija (Malvazija Istriana) 2009
Rich, dark chocolate nose, extremely rich, powerful and engaging. Very complex. Off-dry. Slippery texture. Balanced in acidity, this isidiosyncratic. 13.5% ABV,  90/100

Matošević, Alba Antique (Malvazija Istriana) 2008
Clove-scented acacia nose, elegant with that salty-mineral oyster shell acidity. Thirst-quenching, elegant.  13.3% ABV,  90/100

Kozlović, Santa Lucia (Malvazija Istriana) 2008
Yellow-gold, lovely white Rhône style, stone fruit and stony character, beautifully integrated oak, concentration, intensity, elegance, classy with an exceptionally long finish. World class. 14.4% ABV,  95/100

Benvenuti, Anno Domini 2008 (Malvazija Istriana) 2008
Spicy, white pepper, celery-fennel green character – heading towards Gruner territory. Piercing acidity, fabulous length and persistence. Pure food wine, focus and intensity. Big but world class.  14.3% ABV, 93/100

Poletti, Malvazija (Malvazija Istriana) 2008
Honeyed ripe opulent citrus and apricot. Off-dry, clean, easy-going. 14.4% ABV,  89/100

Kabola, Malvazija Reserve (Malvazija Istriana) 2007
Confit lemon and richness without being fat, with a nice freshness retained despite the age.  13.7% ABV,  89/100

Kabola, Malvazija Amfora (Malvazija Istriana) 2007
Coppery-bronze colour, crushed leafy green herbs, green tea, and lots of apricot. Another amphora wine, showing Malvazija’s suitability to this kind of winemaking. Succulent but bone-dry.  14% ABV,  90/100

Krauthaker, Graševina 2010
Peaches and cream aromatics, good acidity, a hint of sweetness and good length. 12.8% ABV,  88/100

PZ Trs, Graševina 2009
Mineral, slight spritz, clean, focused, refreshing lime and peach fruit. 13.3% ABV,  88/100

Mihalj, Graševina 2009
Reminds is of Alsace in style, pretty, floral nose, broad but with minerality.  14.6% ABV,  88/100

Ivan Cobankovic, Traminac BA (Gewürtztraminer) 2008
Rich, sweet, fresh, luscious Gewürztraminer, with nice aromatics. Textured and long. 14.6% ABV,  89/100

Duboković, Prvi Poljubac (Maraština, Bogdanuša, Prč, Kuč) 2008
Nutty, bronze/tawny, toffee apple sweetness, oxidative, walnuts, coffee, sultanas, dried fig. Very complex.  15.2% ABV,  94/100

Kozlović, Muškat momjanski TBA (Muscat) 2006
Lavender scented, real purity of Muscat fruit. Light and bright and sweet and delicate. 13.5% ABV,  91/100


Trapan, Ruby Rose (Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Teran) 2010
Ripe strawberry-scented, fresh, clean, crunchy, cranberry fruit.  13% ABV,  87/100

Galić, Pinot crni (Pinot noir) 2009
Fleshy, well-made, red fruit. Interesting, authentic expression of Pinot. A good attempt. 13.7% ABV,  86/100

Meneghetti, Crno (Merlot, Cabernet sauvignon, Cabernet Franc) 2008
Light but fresh, attractive vivid – clarity, purity. A touch of sweet ripe mint and mulberry sharpness. 13.6% ABV,  88/100

Benvenuti, Teran (Teran) 2008
Black pepper, cool-climate, sweet black pepper that reminds us so much of Crozes-Hermitage! Really delicious brightness and freshness and juiciness and depth.  13.4% ABV,  89/100

Roxanich, Teran Re (Teran) 2007
Spicy oak, sweetness, a little volatile – a wine that can divide opinion. There is lots of fruit, dry tannins, a traditional wine for food. 13.7% ABV,  87/100

Gracin, Babić (Babić) 2008
Sour cherry and dried anchovy. Creamy palate, with lovely lifted acidity. Dry tannins, alcohol. Big character in the Amarone idiom. 14.5% ABV,  90/100

Vinarija Svircě - Badel 1862, Plavac Mediterano (Plavac mali) 2008
Scented, floral, meaty, this is Plavac Mali in a lighter style. Very attractive and drinkable. 13.5% ABV,  89/100

Vinarija Dingać, Dingać (Plavac mali) 2008
Fleshy, Turkish delight, richness without being over the top. Classic medium-bodied Plavac Mali. 15.6% ABV,  89/100

Saints Hills, Dingać (Plavac mali) 2008
Lots of coconut oak supporting the bright fruit, fresh acidity and a saline tang. 13.8% ABV,  90/100

Vinarija Dingać, Dingać Selekcija (Plavac mali) 2008
We commented that this had a nose reminiscent of Central Otago Pinot Noir strangely enough, some attractive cherry fruit – and lots of it. Delicious, succulent fruit with a slightly drying finish. 15.8% ABV,  89/100

Korta Katarina, Plavac mali (Plavac mali) 2007
Lovely juicy fruit on the nose, soy sauce/salty minerality, mulberry and balsamic sweetness. 13.7% ABV,  89/100

Madirazza, Dingać Grande (Plavac mali) 2005
Very soft, fragrant fresh, bright red fruit, nice coffee-inflected palate. Well-managed soft tannins. 14.3% ABV,  91/100

See all Croatian wines avaialble in the UK listed on, and see all listed in other countries on

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